I was first introduced to E3 by Dr Ria de Villiers in 2018. She approached me to help with some editing, tightening and a little writing on the E3 Life Skills projects for Grades 4 to 6.

What started as a simple editing job, soon became a bit of an obsession. Like most of us, I was immediately pulled into the E3 vibe, tribe, or vision, if you will. I thought: “This is important.”

Soon the writing wasn’t just a job anymore. It was getting in touch with the typical Grade 4 learner on his/her level and thinking along the lines they would: never underestimating the grit and creativity of their generation.

In 2019 I was honoured to visit a few schools in the North West, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and KwaZuluNatal provinces where E3 projects were implemented.

This is where the MAGIC happened.

  • There I met two crafty young boys in Grade 7 who started a school shoe fixing business. They sewed up my leather shoes and they are still good.
  • There I ate my first runaway (chicken feet), prepared with great care and sold at a good profit.
  • There I saw how effective little fingers could be when they manicure your nails.
  • I was happy to spend good money on a pretty hat and some beaded jewellery.
  • I saw a safe and cosy place that was created for strays, and some handmade sustainable products that kept it going.

Creative teachers were finding ways to work around very real challenges, with great results.

And I thought, “This is really important.”

Back home we renewed our efforts. This time round I started working as a coach for Master Trainers – the subject advisors and teachers who do not have a minute to spare, but who see and understand the value of this new way of teaching going forward, and who will provide training to teachers to help them implement Playful Project-based Learning.

The process is slow and meticulous. Some days it is frustrating. The investment is great from all parties. People eat, sleep and live E3, and its one compelling goal.

If all goes well, the team will pull off the impossible in the next ten years, but we will see the results of the investment in education long before then.

Every day I think: “This is a matter of great importance.”

Louwna Erasmus, Free State

Louwna Erasmus runs her own enterprise and is one of the E3 coaching team, working in the Free State. She is a musician, writer and mother of X. She is currently learning to speak French.